Archaeological park to Southern stairs to the top of the Mt of Olives to the Pool of Bethesda to Gethsemane to the Western Wall (busy, eh?)

I actually woke up at 5:30 am and realized that it was about sunrise. There’s stairs to the roof, so I went up there to watch. It was worth it.


Our first stop today was the Archaeological park right next to the temple mount. We were able to see the original foundations of the temple mount and paving stones from Jesus’ time. It’s amazing to see the amount of perfection in the stonework and to understand the labor that went into it. Humbling to know we are called the temple now.

wall corner
Temple mount foundations

The southern stairs are the main way the people would have gotten into the temple mount. This is were I think the Holy Spirit comes on the people in Acts and the 3000 are converted. God changes the location of the church from the temple to us. Cool to be there.

Southern Stairs

Then we drove to the top of the Mt. of Olives and got a great view of the eastern side of the temple mount. We saw a shepherd in the wilderness (just to the east of the mount) leading sheep, so it was an opportune time to discuss the 23rd Psalm and talk about shepherds (the number one description of God in the Bible – you get a prize if you know the second most used description). We also touched briefly on the triumphal entry.

View from Mt of Olives
View from Mt of Olives

The pool of Bethesda was the site of Jesus’ healing of a cripple and we discussed how Christ’s healing is still just as real today. It was a great lesson.

A Gethsemane is an olive press. Most folks don’t know that but you get the picture of Jesus getting pressed for us as he is in the garden nearby the Gethsemane. There has been only one discovered on the Mt of Olives so it is possible this is the exact one. We discussed the last supper passover as well (in about 10 minutes – usually takes John about three hours to get through that). It’s just sweet to see it all for real.

olive tree
Olive tree

After sundown we went to the western wall as the Sabbath started. No photos allowed, but it was  a mass of folks all praying and swaying and dancing. It was really crowded, but we made it to the wall so we were at least able to touch it. Pretty cool, but I’m not a fan of big crowds.

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Busy old-city street. Listen for the call to prayer.

Tomorrow is our last day – we will spend it in Jerusalem. Can’t believe it’s almost over…